Random Thoughts and Observations on the Chiefs-Titans Game
by WILLIAM T. CLOAKE IV
They are only opinions, but at least they are mine...
· Welcome to the Chiefs, Mark Bradley. Only two weeks after being plucked off the waiver wire, Bradley started for the Chiefs opposite Dwayne Bowe. This certainly says something about the state of the Chiefs wide receiving core. What is more, it isn't like Bradley was cut from the high flying Colts or Patriots, Bradley couldn't make it with the Bears...not exactly a passing juggernaut as it is...
· For what it is worth, Bradley stepped in and did nearly as well as any other Chiefs number two starting wide receiver has this season, catching one pass for 8 yards. Amazingly, one catch is still the best output of any Chiefs wide-out other than Dwayne Bowe through six games. It is starting to look like letter Samie Parker go may have been a mistake. Granted Parker is no standout but he averaged about 2.5 catches a game.
· Still, in spite of the Chiefs problems at wide receiver, it is obvious that the Chiefs most pressing offensive problems are on the offensive line, where three fifths of the Chiefs' line got their butts absolutely handed to them against the Titans. Rudy Niswanger, Adrian Jones and Damion McIntosh all had awful games. It is becoming apparent that all three of these lineman are too slow to the point of attack and regularly get beat by quicker defensive linemen, who put them in bad positions in terms of leverage. Against slower lineman, Jones is able to get some push, however, both Niswanger and McIntosh also get moved around too much.
· What I can't figure out is the Chiefs obsession with trying to run to the right side early in ball games. Once again the Chiefs first running play wound up as a loss of two as McIntosh completely whiffed on his block, allowing Kolby Smith to be dumped in the backfield.
· One comforting sign was that Herb Taylor spelled McIntosh at right tackle at couple of points during the game. He seemed to do all right, in spite of committing a false start penalty. It remains to be seen whether Taylor – who has mostly worked at left tackle – can make the transition to right fast enough to gain substantial playing time this season.
· More than likely, the Chiefs loss on Sunday ended the Brodie Croyle experiment. Regardless of what one thinks about Croyle, he certainly was not given the optimal opportunity, given the state of the Chiefs offense. Also, the hit that damaged his knee would have knocked any quarterback out in just the same way. It was painful for any fan to see Brodie try and walk the hit off, before ultimately being helped off the field.
· As if the offensive problems weren't enough, on the defensive side of the ball, the Chiefs were in a word; "Awful". This was one of the worst performances I have seen, as the Chiefs surrendered 332 yards rushing. After the game, when questioned about the Chiefs breakdowns, Herm Edwards answered: "Guys (are) not playing their gaps and that's kind of been our Achilles Heel from the beginning to right now. We worked on it all during the bye week and thought we had some things corrected but obviously some players didn't do what they're supposed to do." This is the same answer that we have been hearing about the Chiefs run defense since the Dick Vermeil era. How about this idea? If someone doesn't play his gap, bench him. Put someone in who will play his gap. Even if he isn't as good, someone in the gap will be better than no one in the gap.
· Frankly, I thought there was more wrong with the Chiefs run defense then just gap responsibilities. The Chiefs exhibited poor tackling, poor angles, an inability to shed blocks and an apparent lack of effort. Outside of that, they were fine.
· Edwards also commented that the Chiefs defensive woes were partially to be blamed on an inept offense that doesn't put any points on the board. While I am sure this contributes, it isn't a good reason. There are plenty of great defenses that have played without the benefit of any sort of offense. Ask Ray Lewis, he'll tell you.
· Here is a sobering thought. The Chiefs have had only three sacks this season, while Jared Allen has five. Worse, the Chiefs are on a pace to wrack up only eight sacks as a team for the entire season. This is barely more than half of the 15.5 Allen had last season. Finally, if the Chiefs entire defense were only player, they would be in a 17 player tie to rank 31st among individuals for sacks. League sack leader, the Cowboys DeMarcus Ware, has three times (9.0) as many sacks as the entire Chiefs team. Needless to say the Chiefs rank dead last in the NFL in sacks. At this rate, the Chiefs may challenge the Baltimore Colts all-time record for fewest sacks in a season of 11.0, set in 1982 – in a strike shortened 9 game season.
· Just a quick thought on the TV coverage, for those who watched the CBS feed. You had to love Steve Tasker for trying to put a more positive spin on the 24-point loss. At one point, when the Chiefs were down 34-3, Tasker commented that the game really wouldn't have been that bad, if the Chiefs had made a couple of field goals and not given up the two long runs. While this might be true, it is sort of like saying the Titanic would have been a heck of a cruise, if it hadn't have been for that iceberg.
· Finally, what in the name of Justin Medlock is wrong with the Chiefs kicking game? In a season where the Chiefs are developing every part of their game, and every point is certainly going to count, why couldn't the Chiefs just sign a proven veteran kicker? Seriously, I wonder what Morten Anderson is doing right now?